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Bugatti Chiron blasts into Geneva with nearly 1,500 hp

Bugatti’s answer to Ferrari and Lamborghini is here. The LaFerrari, McLaren P1, and Porsche 918 Spyder have all come and gone, yet people the world over still put one hypercar on a pedestal above them all. It might not have had the hybrid electric power that the last wave of contenders used, but the Bugatti Veyron supplanted that with sheer animal brutality. Don’t expect the Chiron to be any different. The Veyron had 1,000 horsepower when Bugatti launched it in 2005. The Chiron will have almost 500 more than that. Five. Hundred.

Time will tell if Bugatti has rewritten the rulebook, like it did with the Veyron, but the Chiron’s numbers are truly frightening. The 8.0-liter, quad-turbo W16 motor still sits behind the two-seat cabin, only now it thumps out – wait for it – 1,478 hp.

It’s the most powerful production street car the world has ever seen.

If that’s unimpressive, the W16 tortures its seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with 1,180 pound-feet of torque, too. That torque peaks at 2,000 rpm, and stays strong until full horsepower is delivered at 6,700 rpm. The turbos themselves are larger, capable of cramming in more air at higher pressures and the entire breathing and cooling system is all new. There’s a new carbon-fiber inlet manifold, six catalytic converters and a titanium exhaust system that reduces the back pressure.

The Chiron is almost 340 pounds heavier than the Veyron, too, with Bugatti claiming 4,400 pounds, and that’s a dry weight, without 26 gallons of gasoline licking the top of the tank. And it has a drift mode. For the demonstrably insane. A freaking drift mode.

Bugatti has once again limited the Chiron to a production run of just 500 cars and, before you ask, it’ll take $2.6 million in spare change to secure one. Bugatti says it already has an order bank of 150 cars, or $390 million in fresh cashflow.

The Chiron runs up to a limited top speed of 261 miles per hour. With the Veyron already at the limits of longitudinal acceleration, Bugatti says only that the Chiron will crunch through to 62 mph in less than 2.5 seconds, though the 0-62-mph sprint is less relevant to hypercars than it used to be. Perhaps more frightening is that it will burst from 0-124 mph in less than 6.5 seconds. Or that it rips from 0-186 mph in 13.5 seconds, a full three seconds quicker than the original Veyron.

This new Bugatti still uses the aerodynamic tricks of having separate top-speed and handling modes, reaching out to 261 mph at the peak of its powers and 236 mph with the hydraulically raised rear wing set for maximum driving security. It also still uses the drag to its advantage, by sticking an airbrake up to help it slow down from very high speeds.

While the size is roughly similar to the Veyron (the wheelbase is just one millimeter longer), Bugatti insists the Chiron is an entirely new car. Fair enough. It uses an all-new carbon-fiber chassis tub, with a honeycomb sandwich floor section to help with sound and vibration insulation. It’s a physically huge car. It’s three inches longer than the Veyron. It’s also two inches taller, and an inch and a half wider. That extra width is used to give the two-seat Chiron extra footwell space and another half inch of headroom.

Bugatti says it has 50,000 newton-meters per degree of torsional rigidity, which in simple terms, is up there with the Porsche and Audi LMP1 Le Mans racers, even though the Chiron needs a much bigger space inside for owners and their wallets to sit in.

The Chiron retains the Veyron’s all-wheel-drive layout, though this time it uses an electronically controlled multi-plate center differential with torque vectoring to deliver power to whichever end of the car can make the best use of it. The coupe also has torque vectoring on the rear axle, giving it the aforementioned “easy to drift” function that might have to be seen and used to be believed.

The seven-speed dual-clutch is a development of the Veyron’s Ricardo-built unit, with alloy paddle-shifters on the steering wheel for manual use, and there’s now an electro-mechanical steering system. The air suspension improves high-speed body control without hurting the ride quality, with everything rolling on custom Michelin 285/30ZR20 front and 355/25ZR21 rear tires. While the air suspension is fully adaptive for bump and rebound, it also lets Bugatti give the Chiron variable ride height, depending on the task at hand. Those tasks range from five preset modes, which include Lift (for keeping the nose out of trouble over gutters and speed bumps), Auto, Autobahn, Handling, and Top Speed.

While Lift is a low-speed solution, the next three modes are limited to just a paltry 236 mph, while you will still need to stop the car then insert and twist a Speed Key to engage the Top Speed mode for the full time-warp experience. Hitting 261 mph doesn’t just need the car to drop its ride height. It needs aero help, too. The Chiron has a coefficient of drag of 0.38 in its Auto mode, 0.40 in its Handling mode, and just 0.35 in its Top Speed mode, though that screams up to 0.59 when it deploys the Air Brake.

Not that the mechanical system doesn’t promise at least adequacy, with bigger 16.5-inch front and 15.7-inch rear carbon-ceramic rotors, clamped by eight-piston front and six-piston rear calipers. Bugatti insists the stopping power is astonishing, pulling the Chiron back to zero from 62 mph in 103 feet, from 124 mph in 410 feet, and from 186 mph in 902 feet. Don’t ask about 261 mph, though. We did, and Bugatti said not to.

Its interior continues the Veyron’s promise of authentic materials, including leather, carbon fiber, and brushed aluminum, while it has the first airbag in the world that can deploy through the carbon fiber dash to protect the passenger.

The dramatic Chiron styling was lead by design boss Achim Anscheidt. While attention to detail is easy to come by when you’re asked to design an all-new car once a decade, the Chiron has unique issues, most notably the torture of surfacing by the high-speed air. Anscheidt insisted the design team worked unusually closely with the engineering and aerodynamics teams to retain the visual punch without losing any aero efficiency.

Besides the horseshoe grille (topped by a sterling silver and enamel Bugatti badge), there’s a front splitter strong enough to go racing with and thin LED lights that double as intakes to redirect air to the front brakes. There’s a semicircular set of front wings and a large central fin, which runs from the bonnet into the roof and onto the tail, to provide lateral stability at high speed, much like on modern LMP1 racers.

The Veyron’s large air scoops that feed the mid-mounted engine have been replaced by NACA ducts, which keep the bodywork cleaner and deliver less turbulent air. There’s an integrated rear spoiler, a large, central exhaust system, and another hardcore diffuser at the back to finish off the Chiron’s look.

Like the Veyron, the Chiron won’t stay as one stock model for long, with Bugatti planning a successor for each of the Veyron’s main variants, including the Grand Sport, SuperSport, and Grand Vitesse. The Chiron is named after Bugatti’s most famous racing driver, Louis Chiron, who raced for the marque in the 1920s and 1930s and was the official starter of the Monaco Grand Prix into the late 1970s. Chiron won the French Grand Prix in a Bugatti Type 51 and even though he also raced for Alfa Romeo, Mercedes-Benz, and Maserati, he was always closely linked to Bugatti.


Humans trust this emergency robot more than common sense

Getting people to trust robots is as big a deal for the future of technology as building them. But, it turns out, acquiring that trust might not be that difficult. Test subjects at the Georgia Institute of Technology willingly followed an emergency robot to safety during a simulated fire, even when it led them away from clearly marked exit signs, New Scientist reports. The findings even surprised Paul Robinette, the graduate student in charge of the study: “We thought that there wouldn’t be enough trust, and that we’d have to do something to prove the robot was trustworthy.”

30 subjects started out the test by following the robot, a customized Pioneer P3-AT, down a hallway and into a room, where they were asked to fill out a survey. Eventually, a smoke alarm went off and simulated smoke filled the hall. The robot would then lead them through the smoke down a new path, and towards a door they’ve never seen before. All the while, the subjects could have easily exited through the clearly marked path they originally came through. 26 of the test subjects ended up following the robot, while two never left the room (the other two were kicked out of the study).

So what led to this result? The researchers say it might show that humans will automatically trust a robot if it’s designed for a specific task. Indeed, some of the subjects mentioned they followed the bot because it was wearing an “Emergency Guide Robot” sign.

It’d be interesting to see what the results of this test would have been just 10 years ago. These days, most of us are used to following GPS instructions from our phones and cars, even when they lead us down unlikely paths. But you can probably recall the first time you had to follow GPS directions blindly — there’s definitely a bit of a learning curve before you learn to trust the machine. On a similar note, it took me a while to get used to letting Roombas clean my apartment effectively, because to my human eyes it just looked like they were bouncing off walls.

There is, of course, an obvious issue with this automatic trust. There’s no way to know if the robot is faulty, which puts a heavy burden on its creators. In followup tests, subjects even followed the bot when it pretended to break down during the simulated fire.

Via: New Scientist


Google Maps pit stop feature arrives on iOS

Back in October, Google Maps rolled out a new feature for finding pit stops along your route. Today, the handy tool is making its way to the iOS version of the app. If you missed the news the first time around, the feature allows you to add a detour to your road trip without leaving navigation mode. Tap the magnifying glass in the top right and you’ll be given a list of options like gas stations, restaurants and more. If you need to search for something else, you’ll be able to do so. You can also use voice search to find a specific place or another category. You know, so you don’t have to futz with your phone too much.

No matter how you access them, search results will display the average rating for the destination and how much time the stop will add to your trip. The pit stop feature is rolling out to iOS users starting today, so you should be able to use it soon.

Source: Google


‘Little Ripper’ drones take flight to find sharks and save lives

After playing host to fourteen shark attacks last year, the Australian state of New South Wales has been eyeing up drones for help. The state government’s new “shark strategy” calls for tiny aircraft to monitor the waters around southeast Australia, and that’s what a $250,000 remote-controlled drone — affectionately named Little Ripper — will do for a six-month trial period.

Little Rippers can zip through the air for about two and a half hours before needed a recharge, and spend much of their time relaying live coastal video back to a two-person control team. In the event that team finds something, they can command their Ripper to drop a small payload of supplies including inflatable rafts and GPS beacons to aid rescuers and give victims a better shot at survival. While those people at the stick make up most of the Little Rippers’ intelligence, a team at Sydney’s University of Technology trying to give the drone some smarts of its own.

Their goal? To craft software that will help Ripper determine what kind of shark it’s hovering over; that could be a huge step forward in helping rescuers figure out which situations require some aerial assistance. After all, while New South Wales has several shark species cruising its waters, only three kinds — bull sharks, tiger sharks and great whites — are responsible for most attacks on humans. When dangerous sharks are spotted, the Ripper could then pass that information straight to lifeguards and emergency services teams who can then get people out of potentially dangerous waters.

The Rippers have the potential to change how Australia protects its people from shark attacks, but we’ll see how this six month test drive goes first. If all goes well, The Daily Telegraph reports, some 40 of these drones are expected to be doled out to Australia’s Surf Life Saving Clubs in 2017.

Via: RT

Source: The Daily Telegraph


Read Apple’s opening statement to Congress over its FBI fight

Apple is gearing up for its first meeting with Congress tomorrow regarding the FBI’s request to unlock an encrypted iPhone linked to the San Bernardino terrorist attacks. The company’s General Counsel, Bruce Sewell, will testify its case before the house Judiciary Committee, and if you’ve been following this saga, you’ve probably got a decent idea of his position. Sewell’s opening statement was forwarded along to Apple employees earlier today, and as you can expect, it ties together all of the reasons Apple is resisting the FBI’s request. The big takeaway: “Weakening encryption will only hurt consumers and other well-meaning users who rely on companies like Apple to protect their personal information.”

Read Sewell’s full opening remarks below:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It’s my pleasure to appear before you and the Committee today on behalf of Apple. We appreciate your invitation and the opportunity to be part of the discussion on this important issue which centers on the civil liberties at the foundation of our country.

I want to repeat something we have said since the beginning — that the victims and families of the San Bernardino attacks have our deepest sympathies and we strongly agree that justice should be served. Apple has no sympathy for terrorists.

We have the utmost respect for law enforcement and share their goal of creating a safer world. We have a team of dedicated professionals that are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to assist law enforcement. When the FBI came to us in the immediate aftermath of the San Bernardino attacks, we gave all the information we had related to their investigation. And we went beyond that by making Apple engineers available to advise them on a number of additional investigative options.

But we now find ourselves at the center of an extraordinary circumstance. The FBI has asked a Court to order us to give them something we don’t have. To create an operating system that does not exist — because it would be too dangerous. They are asking for a backdoor into the iPhone — specifically to build a software tool that can break the encryption system which protects personal information on every iPhone.

As we have told them — and as we have told the American public — building that software tool would not affect just one iPhone. It would weaken the security for all of them. In fact, just last week Director Comey agreed that the FBI would likely use this precedent in other cases involving other phones. District Attorney Vance has also said he would absolutely plan to use this on over 175 phones. We can all agree this is not about access to just one iPhone.

The FBI is asking Apple to weaken the security of our products. Hackers and cyber criminals could use this to wreak havoc on our privacy and personal safety. It would set a dangerous precedent for government intrusion on the privacy and safety of its citizens.

Hundreds of millions of law-abiding people trust Apple’s products with the most intimate details of their daily lives – photos, private conversations, health data, financial accounts, and information about the user’s location as well as the location of their friends and families. Some of you might have an iPhone in your pocket right now, and if you think about it, there’s probably more information stored on that iPhone than a thief could steal by breaking into your house. The only way we know to protect that data is through strong encryption.

Every day, over a trillion transactions occur safely over the Internet as a result of encrypted communications. These range from online banking and credit card transactions to the exchange of healthcare records, ideas that will change the world for the better, and communications between loved ones. The US government has spent tens of millions of dollars through the Open Technology Fund and other US government programs to fund strong encryption. The Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology, convened by President Obama, urged the US government to fully support and not in any way subvert, undermine, weaken, or make vulnerable generally available commercial software.

Encryption is a good thing, a necessary thing. We have been using it in our products for over a decade. As attacks on our customers’ data become increasingly sophisticated, the tools we use to defend against them must get stronger too. Weakening encryption will only hurt consumers and other well-meaning users who rely on companies like Apple to protect their personal information.

Today’s hearing is titled Balancing Americans’ Security and Privacy. We believe we can, and we must, have both. Protecting our data with encryption and other methods preserves our privacy and it keeps people safe.

The American people deserve an honest conversation around the important questions stemming from the FBI’s current demand:

Do we want to put a limit on the technology that protects our data, and therefore our privacy and our safety, in the face of increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks? Should the FBI be allowed to stop Apple, or any company, from offering the American people the safest and most secure product it can make?

Should the FBI have the right to compel a company to produce a product it doesn’t already make, to the FBI’s exact specifications and for the FBI’s use?

We believe that each of these questions deserves a healthy discussion, and any decision should be made after a thoughtful and honest consideration of the facts.

Most importantly, the decisions should be made by you and your colleagues as representatives of the people, rather than through a warrant request based on a 220 year- old-statute.

At Apple, we are ready to have this conversation. The feedback and support we’re hearing indicate to us that the American people are ready, too.

We feel strongly that our customers, their families, their friends and their neighbors will be better protected from thieves and terrorists if we can offer the very best protections for their data. And at the same time, the freedoms and liberties we all cherish will be more secure.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to answering your questions.

Via: Business Insider


Popular Mac Writing App ‘Scrivener’ Could Finally Be Coming Soon to iOS

In a recent blog post, developer Keith Blount gave an update on the long-awaited iOS version of popular writing app Scrivener. Blount touched on the lengthy road to development the app has had over the years, mentioning that he took over its development and “rewrote it from the ground up” last year.

A screenshot of Scrivener for Mac

I know we’ve been quiet about the iOS version recently, and some users have been wondering if it’s still in development. After all the problems we’ve had with it, I took over development myself last year and rewrote it from the ground up. I had originally planned not to develop it myself so that I didn’t have to divide my time between the Mac and iOS versions, but in the event, coding our iOS version turned out to be a lot of fun, especially with the introduction of the iPad Pro. Adapting Scrivener for iOS felt like going back to the beginning and remembering why I built Scrivener in the first place.

Blount mentioned that the alpha test is “going well” for the iOS app, and that he’s particularly excited for the potential of the writing-centric experience on Apple’s new large-screened iPad Pro. The developer believes the beta isn’t too far away and that when it happens news and updates on Scrivener for iOS will start at a faster rate.

For anyone unfamiliar with Scrivener’s long-gestating iOS app, it was first announced by the team back in 2011, with an early-estimate launch goal of “some time in 2012.” When that date slipped, Blount kept fans updated on the troubled development of the app, with the team running into a few coding issues and unexpected health concerns of one of the developer’s immediate family.

Continued delayed updates finally spurred Blount into handling the iOS app on his own, leading to today’s encouraging news for fans who have been patiently waiting for a mobile version of Scrivener. Speaking directly to Scrivener users, in the most current blog post Blount thanked those who have been patient throughout the intervening years: “Thank you for your patience, your support, and your enthusiasm while Scrivener for iOS has been undergoing its long gestation.”

Scrivener is currently available on the Mac App Store for $44.99. [Direct Link]

Tag: Scrivener
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iPhone SE Design Possibilities Compared in New Renderings

Last week, schematics and renderings based on case maker’s specifications came out from several sources, giving us our first look at what Apple’s much-rumored 4-inch “iPhone SE” might look like when it launches in March. The two designs, one from OnLeaks and one from 9to5Mac, both depict an iPhone that looks a lot like the iPhone 5s, but the designs differ quite a bit.

9to5Mac’s mockup of the iPhone SE looks almost identical to the iPhone 5s, while OnLeaks’ schematic pictures a device with curved edges, leading to a look that’s a hybrid of an iPhone 6 and an iPhone 5s. These differences are clear in new renderings created by Martin Hajek that compare the two designs to a purely conceptual rendering from Curved Labs imagining the iPhone SE as a smaller iPhone 6.

Click to enlarge
Multiple rumors have said the iPhone SE will be of a similar size to the iPhone 5s, with the two even able to share cases, but it’s also been said it will include a slightly curved glass display, two concepts that are difficult to conceptualize. An iPhone SE that’s similar in size to an iPhone 5s but with curved edges as seen in the OnLeaks schematic won’t be able to use the same accessories as the iPhone 5s because of the different shape.

Despite the fact that the iPhone SE is less than a month away from debuting, we’ve seen few part leaks, and no leaks of the back of the device to help us nail down the true look of the device. We’ve heard tons of rumors, but with no visual evidence, it’s still difficult to determine whether the iPhone SE is an exact iPhone 5s clone or a fresh design that takes cues from multiple devices.

iphoneserenderingsstackedClick to enlarge
Renderings agree the iPhone SE will have a power button that remains located at the top of the device, and it appears it will use a pill-shaped flash and the same round volume buttons that were found on the iPhone 5s. OnLeaks’ rendering suggests the camera could protrude somewhat, a possibility if the iPhone SE adopts the 12-megapixel camera in the iPhone 6s.

On the iPhone 6s, the camera protrudes approximately 0.7mm from the 7.1mm body of the device. The iPhone 5s’ thickness is 7.6mm, and the iPhone SE is rumored to have the same dimensions, so the camera could stick out slightly.

iphoneserenderingscomparisonbottomClick to enlarge
Though the iPhone SE is rumored to resemble the iPhone 5s on the exterior, its internals are said to be on par with Apple’s latest devices. It will include an A9 processor, the same used in the iPhone 6s, along with the aforementioned upgraded camera and an NFC chip to support Apple Pay.

Apple is expected to introduce the iPhone SE at an event that’s now rumored to take place on March 21. Also debuting at the event is the next-generation 9.7-inch iPad, which may be branded as a smaller “iPad Pro,” and new Apple Watch bands.

Martin Hajek has several other renderings depicting the three concepts side-by-side, which are well worth checking out on his website.

Related Roundups: iPhone 5se, iPhone SE
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10 easy ways to keep your fridge clean and organized – CNET


Super-fast DIY LED cloud lamp – CNET


How to properly hang dress pants so they stay on the clothes hanger – CNET

Taylor Martin/CNET

It’s happened to everyone. You carefully drape your dress pants over the rung of a clothes hanger, reach into the closet to hang them on the clothes rod and slip. The pants slide off the hanger an onto the floor.

Thankfully, there is a way to properly hang dress pants so they will no longer slide off the hanger. It only takes a few extra seconds to do and it will save you loads of frustration. It may even save you time in the long run, since you won’t have to iron the pants after they’ve slipped off the hanger and sat on the floor of your closet for an undisclosed amount of time.

Learn how to keep your pants off the floor.

Hanging dress pants the right way

Taylor Martin/CNET
Taylor Martin/CNET

To hang dress pants, first find the crease in the legs and lay them flat on a folding table or the bed. Next, take the top pant leg and fold it up towards the waist of the pants. Place the coat hanger on the bottom leg, hook side towards the cuff or leg opening. Fold the bottom leg over the rung of the coat hanger, pulling it through the hanger and lay the leg opening against the crotch seam. Press it flat. Take the top pant leg and also pull it through the coat hanger. While holding the top leg, grab the hook of the coat hanger, pick both up and drop the pant leg.

Folding the legs over one another through clothes hanger will help the pants hold themselves in place, thanks to their own weight and friction.

Now all you need to do is straighten out the legs, ensuring the crease in the pants is aligned with the fold on the clothes hanger. It also helps to line up the pant legs with one another.

Taking it a step further

Unfortunately, this method isn’t entirely foolproof. Dress pants are typically a much slicker material than other types of pants. This means, despite this clever hack, dress pants can and will still slip off clothes hangers.

To take it one step further, all you will need are some pins, clips or something to help hold the pants in place on the clothes hanger.

I’ve found that small binder clips work exceptionally well. You can clamp two binder clips on the legs of the pants near the clothes hanger to ensure they won’t slide around very much at all. You can also try place them in way that any indentations left by the clips will be hidden, but having to steam out two tiny clip marks is still much easier and quicker than having to iron both pant legs.

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